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Putting Reputation On The Line

Thanks to the advancement of technology, media is becoming more accessible. In a report by CNN, it was mentioned that on average, a teen spends 9 hours a day on social media. Similarly, according to Statista[1], Facebook has over 1,590 million active users as of April 2016. Due to this, organisations are placing more emphasis on the management of their branding on media, particularly on social media. Here are three examples of bad media management that caused companies their reputation.

Malaysia Airline

The first case was how Malaysia Airline handled the media on their missing aircraft MH370. MH370 was a scheduled international passenger flight that disappeared on 8 March 2014. It was flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport. Air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft after its last interaction, less than an hour after its take off. Malaysian Authorities had failed to communicate properly with its audience. Communication was broken down between the government and Airline, giving out differing information. The crisis management team was inexperienced and inadequate in handling international media resulting in speculations and rumours against the situation’s favour.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Next in line was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also known as BP oil spill) that occurred on 20 April 2010. It was one of the biggest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Not only are there devastating environmental damages, 11 people went missing and are never found. However, BP’s crisis team was not tactical about conveying their messages to the masses. In an interview with BBC after the accident, Tony Hayward, Chief Executive, tried to shirk responsibility instead of admitting their mistake.

“This was not our accident … This was not our drilling rig … This was Transocean’s rig. Their systems. Their people. Their equipment.” – Tony Hayward to BBC

In addition to that, he stated that the amount of oil released was relatively insignificant in the vast ocean. Hayward’s response to the crisis has put the company on a bad spot, by making the company appear nonchalant about the environmental damage.


In 2010, Mark Hurd, CEO of Hewlett-Packard was allegedly accused of sexual harassing a woman who was a contractor for the company. As a result, Hurd was pressured to resign from his position by the company’s board, hoping that peace and operations can be resumed. However, what follows Hurd’s resignation was anything but the desired outcome. After heeding the advice of its PR counselor, HP disclosed all elements of the case, despite having no concrete evidences of sexual misconduct. Many felt that that the board has over reacted which resulted in the loss of a brilliant leader. While a quick response and call for action is desirable, more investigations and cost analysis should be done before going transparent on any saga.

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